BY JIM WELLS
The day was dedicated to the Qs, the quarterpounders, or more appropriately and accurately, the quarter horses, those speedy sprinters on the racetrack who gobble up ground in the same fashion that Usain Bolt covers 100 yards.
They are out of the blocks and rocketing toward the finish line in the blink of an eye and often need the eye of a camera to separate them at the finish line. When the quarter horses run, you can expect to find a fair share of large shiny belt buckles, western hats and ostrich boots on the grounds.
And there is nothing quite like the camaraderie of the quarter horse folks to instill some joy and excitement into the proceedings.
Sunday’s card had all of it:
Three trials for the Canterbury Derby kicked off the card, followed by the $18,000 Mystic Lake Northlands Juvenile, the $45,765 Minnesota Stallion Breeders’ Futurity and then the granddaddy of Canterbury Q racing, the $167,600 Mystic Lake Northlands Futurity.
There were smaller stories, too, to go with the larger tales of the day. Take the winning rider of the second trial race, Marcus Swiontek, a local lad from Jordan. Swiontek rode Bout Tree Fiddy for the Tomey Swan barn, a winner on his 27th birthday.
Tom and Bill Maher’s Eagle Deluxe won the Juvenile; Duane Murphy’s BS Special won the Stallion Breeders Futurity and the Kendrix brothers _ Harvey, Donald and EB _ won the Northlands Futurity with A Jordon Reed.
$167,600 MYSTIC LAKE NORTHLANDS FUTURITY
Next time you are in Oklahoma it might pay to look up one of the Kendrix brothers, Donnie in particular. Approachable, affable and generally just a downright nice fellow. You won’t have to talk long before you get an invitation to dinner.
You get that an impression anyway a mere five minutes into a discussion with the man. Then again, having just won $83,800 could put a lot of folks in a congenial mood. Didn’t you tell the cashier at Super America you’d take her to lunch _ in Paris _ if the lottery ticket she sold you is a winner.
All that aside, the Kendrix brothers drove from Oklahoma to Shakopee for the second time this summer. They were here for the Mystic Lake Northland trials and were on hand again Sunday. It was a good day for them, their horse, the Ed Ross Hardy barn and rider Oscar Delgado, the hottest quarter horse jockey on the grounds.
A Jordon Reed got a clean break and was first to the wire by a half length over Agent Carter, who finished a neck in front of Miss Jess Carter. The winning time was 17.847.
For his part, Delgado said he wasn’t certain of anything until the wire. “I just kept riding,” he explained.
Don Kendrix added this footnote: “He didn’t ask for 100 percent in the trials. But he did today.”
The best part about this two-year-old is his demeanor. “A real calm horse. Won’t run from you when you approach and will let you put your hands on him,” Don added.
So, when A Jordon’s competition is creating all sorts of havoc in the gate, he keeps his head about him and is generally well positioned for the break.
Kendrix Farms has been operating for four decades, since 1973 and it’s an easy place to find.
“We’re on top of a hill in New Castle, just a mile and one half down the road from the New Castle Casino, run by the Chickasaw tribe. The pavement comes right into our place, too,” Don said. “It was all countryside when the farm was built in the early 1970s but is now considered suburban Oklahoma City. “We’re just 20 minutes from downtown,” Don said.
Hardy, too, was delighted with the win.
“That will just about make the summer won’t it, Ed,” someone said.
“That will work,” he responded.
The Kendrix brothers bred the winner and from Don’s point of view, they just might have that horse every owner dreams about.
“A man is lucky if he gets one good horse in a lifetime,” he said, repeating a common belief in the horse business.
Don,82 last week, pointed out that there were two sets of twins in his family of 10 siblings. He and his brother, Doyle T, now deceased, and two of his sisters.
With that kind of history, who knows, there might be another horse just as good as the one that brought them all to the winners’ circle on Sunday, a horse that looks just like A Jordon Reed.
For the time being, Sunday’s experience is plenty.
“It was a good race. A good day,” Don said.
$45,765 MINNESOTA STALLION BREEDERS’ FUTURITY
Does it get any better than this?
Not the way David Pinon saw it.
“This was easy. She made it look easy,” the winning rider said.
He was talking about BS Special, the 4/5 favorite who soared past seven rivals to win this race with room to spare, finishing a widening length in front of Triple Vodka Feature and two in front of Itinkican Itinkican, in 17.908
Trainer Casey Black gave that credit to the winning owner, Duane Murphy, who unlike many owners did not expect too much, too soon and was never in a rush.
“With an owner like that you don’t end up with a horse that is nervous because you’ve messed with their heads trying to hurry them up,” Black said. “If an owner gives you the time to work with a horse, this is what can happen.”
$18,000 MYSTIC LAKE NORTHLANDS JUVENILE
Tom Maher loves everything about Canterbury Park, the owners, the employees, anything you care to name.
“The Sampsons are friendly, all of the employees are friendly. Even the security guards are friendly,” he said, chuckling.
Told that it was merely Minnesota Nice, Maher agreed there was that aspect to his trips here, but made an allowance. “Minnesota Nice is second to South Dakota Nice.”
It seems appropriate to allow him that belief. After all he was still basking in the glow of winning the Northlands Juvenile with his Eagle Deluxe, ridden by Brayan Velazquez.
Maher, a Pierre, S.D. native, makes frequent trips to Minnesota to race his quarter horses at Canterbury and has had his share of success. He is third in total winnings and second in total wins in track history.
Asked about his winning horse on Sunday, the affable Maher delivered a few platitudes with a chuckle and then added, “If that’s not good enough, make something up.”
In any event, Eagle Deluxe was a clear half-length winner over Bobby Elvis and had a full length on CK Annalea, winning in 18.052.
What Maher did allow was this:
“This horse is likely going to be better at 440,” he said.